How to Expand Your Garden with Root Vegetables
Root vegetables are likely be one of the most underrated categories of vegetables for home gardeners. While most home gardens are filled with the typical tomato and cucumber plants, you might have a harder time finding gardens filled with rutabaga and turnips. The main reason might be that they can be intimidating. Unless you are accustomed to growing up eating dandelion root, you might just write it off as a weed and miss all the amazing benefits that make up this great veggie.
Root Vegetable Basics
Before we dive into the health benefits and how to use amazing root vegetables, let’s get a better idea of what they are.
At the most simplistic level, a root vegetable is a plant root that is used as a vegetable. The list is long for the amount of veggies that fall under this category. For time sake, let’s take a look at a few of some amazing tasting, great to cook with, fun to grow root vegetables.
This root vegetable might be the most popular one on this list. The crisp, sweet taste make them a staple for many meals. They can be eaten raw, or cooked and as long as you have some patience, they are really pretty easy to grow.
These roots have a punch to them, especially when they are home grown. The spicy flavor they have is out of this world. They are great raw, or the greens are amazing to eat too and can be a great addition to a green monster shake. (See Recipe Below)
This baby is known for its super food label as it is packed with amazing nutrients and is among one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Their earthy, but sweet flavor taste is best when roasted, steamed or even left raw. Add these to a green monster shake and get some added sweetness that will leave your taste buds wanting more.
Sweet Potato and Yams
The uses of a sweet potato are endless. They can be mashed, pureed, roasted, and baked. Add some salt and they taste great. If you would like something sweet, add some brown sugar and cinnamon and you have a tasty treat. While they are a starch, they are still packed with many vital nutrients.
With its natural antibiotic, anti-inflammatory properties, this veggie is another powerhouse. Ginger can be used in a wide variety of foods, added to teas, or thrown into a smoothie to help fight off colds.
The subtle flavor of a turnip makes them great for pairing with another vegetable. Add them to a stir fry, add to a soup, or combine with other herbs.
Pull back the thick skin and strange stalks and you will find juice, crisp flesh. The kohlrabi can be mashed, pureed, and even sliced and thrown into a salad.
This may be one of the most underused root vegetable on our list here and a fun one to try and experiment with. You will find that the rutabaga is similar to a turnip, but has a more earthly flavor.
Health Benefits of Root Vegetables
Root vegetables are filled with amazing nutrients. As they grow underground, they absorb much of the nutrients found in the soil. While each veggie has its own added nutrients, they all have similar properties. You will find that they are packed with amazing nutrient rich properties. For example, toss some parsnip to your roasting tray and you get 20 percent of your daily folate. This is an essential vitamin if you are trying to conceive, are pregnant or breast feeding.
Try tossing some turnips into your stew or curry. This will provide up to one third of your daily need of vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant. It helps you absorb iron and helps the body make collagen for bones and cartilage.
If you are an athlete and looking to help your stamina, try drinking beet juice or adding it to your smoothie the next time you plan to go for a run. The nitrate in the beet juice leads to an improved use of oxygen and help to lower blood pressure. According to the Journal of Applied Physiology in 2009, after drinking two cups of beet juice for six days, eight male participants were able to bike up to 16 percent longer than those that drank the placebo.
In case you not convinced of all the amazing benefits of these root veggies yet, let’s talk about the benefits of the amazing carrot. This veggie helps provide your body with beta-carotene that helps your body convert into vitamin A. It helps with vision and bone growth, while helping to regulate the body’s immune system.
Best Root Vegetable Recipes
When it comes to cooking root vegetables, the best way to find out what you like is to try things out and experiment. While some root veggies can be eaten raw, most taste the best when they are cooked. Using different methods like steaming, boiling, roasted, sautéing, and grilling will gives some great results. When you cook them, you’ll have the option of mashing them, or pureeing them.
Green Monster Juice Recipe
- 2 Organic Carrots
- 2 Organic Beets
- 2 Organic Radish greens
- 1 Lemon Juice
- Bunch of Kale
- 1 T of Ginger
Combine all ingredients into a juicer, and enjoy immediately for best results.
Note: Try “chewing” your juice. When we chew normal food we are covering that food with our saliva which contains an enzyme called ptyalin that helps to the digestive process by breaking down food. When we drink our food, we are not providing our food with that help enzyme that helps the food to digest.
Green Monster Smoothie Recipe
1 Cup Greens of your choice (Including Radish Greens)
1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
½ Cup Plain Yogurt
½ Cup Carrots
Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately for best results.
Wrapping it Up
Next time you go to plan your garden, make sure you include some of these amazing root vegetables. Try something new – a plant you have never grown before and find a fun way to cook it. You will not be disappointed at the great flavors, textures, and incredible health benefits that these amazing veggies have to offer.
If you have been waiting to try out the Root Stick, by Rootwell Products, Inc, using them on these root vegetables is a must. When these veggies get hydrated directly from the source, the results will be amazing. Root Sticks also enable important nutrients and oxygen, as well as water, to reach the root zone of the plants.
Back To You
What is your favorite root vegetable? Share with us in the comments below and let us know your favorite way to eat them.